Tesla stopped eating meat for health and ethical reasons

One of the greatest minds in the world, Nikola Tesla, was a vegetarian who warned against the slaughter of animals and claimed that he would not harm or kill a single living being. Nikola Tesla fought for the liberation of animals, publicly standing up for their protection on many occasions. It’s no secret because he expressed his views in interviews for newspapers, but also in front of scientists and other prominent people of his time. That’s why we can rightfully consider him one of the biggest advocates of animal rights, who also left valuable advice to people for a peaceful and more healthy life.

Nikola Tesla said that everything should be done to protect animals. He also claimed that man, by his constitution, especially his jaws, teeth, and hands, is destined to feed on plant and not animal flesh.

In a viewof these facts, every effort should be made to stop the wanton and cruel slaughter of animals which must be destructive to our morals. To free our selves from animal instincts and appetites, which keep us down, we should begin at the very rooth from which we spring: we should effect a radical reform in the charachter of the food. (Century Ilustrated Magazine, June 1900)

Nikola Tesla was a vegetarian for a large part of his life. John Jay O’Neill testifies in Tesla’s biography “The Unsurpassed Genius”:

In his mature years, Tesla rejected the meat diet. He replaced it with fish. Later, he almost completely eliminated fish and switched to a vegetarian diet. Tesla was an advocate of vegetarianism as an ethical, ecologically, economically and health-justified nutrition, so he proved to be a grateful “prophet” for that reason as well.

Growing plant food is more economical than meat production

Tesla said that it is certainly much more desirable to grow vegetables, and that is why he thinks that vegetarianism is a commendable way to abandon established habits.

It is certanly preferable to raise vegetables, and I think, therefore, that a vegeterainism is commendable departure from the established barbarius habit. That we we can subsis on plant food and perform our work even to advantage is not a theory, but a well demonstrated fact. Many races living almost exclusively on vegetables are of superiour physique and strenght. There is no doubt that some plant food, such as oatmeal, is more economical than meat and superior to it in regard to both mechanical and menthal persformance. Such food, moreover, taxes our digestive organs decidedly less, and, in making us more contented and sociable, produces an amount of good difficoult to estimate. (Century Ilustrated Magazine, June 1900)

Harmful effects of meat products and overeating

Tesla specifically pointed out the harmful effects of meat and egg yolk. They contain a lot of uric acids, which create excessive amounts of urea in the blood. This leads to rheumatism, colic pain, hypertension, and quite a number of other diseases, which Tesla was obviously familiar with. He added that there are many things that make us unproductive, and one of them certainly is bad nutrition.

Nikola Tesla also said that diet moderation develops self-discipline and a sense of proportion, which leads a person to tolerance and patience. He personally ate twice a day, whether he was in Smiljan, in Europe, or in America.

Why overburden the bodies that serve us? I eat but two meals a day, and I avoid all acid-producing foods. Almost everyone eats too many peas and beans and other foods containing uric acid and other poisons…Fish is reputed as fine brain food, but has a very strong acid reaction, as it contains a great deal of phosphorus. Acidity is by far the worst enemy to fight off in old age. (Kansas City Journal-Post — September, 1933)

Ljubomir Simonović – Nikola Tesla

Tesla’s view of the future of nutrition

Tesla became a consistent promoter of a healthy life without alcohol, coffee, cigarettes, and regular exercise. All this, as well as a meatless and moderate diet, influenced Tesla’s exceptional work habits and mental abilities. He slept no more than four hours a day until he was very old. He lived to be 87 years old.

Nikola Tesla and pigeons

While living among the skyscrapers and avenues of New York City, Tesla developed a special friendship with pigeons. He stood at the window and whistled to them, and they flew in from all sides. He even let them into his hotel room where he nurtured, treated, and fed them like they were his best friends. The windows of Tesla’s hotel room were constantly open so that the pigeons could fly in and out as they pleased.

In the picture book, “A Life Electric”, written by Azadeh Westergaard, interesting details about the friendship between Tesla and pigeons are described:

He placed baskets with nests on the bedside tables and bowls with fresh fruit and seeds on the windowsill. Every morning and afternoon, Tesla went to Bryant Park and in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral to feed the pigeons. Nikola Tesla was called the pigeon whisperer of New York, and when journalists asked him why does he love birds so much, he answered: “I love the same birds that I loved in my childhood.” If Tesla got sick and couldn’t feed the pigeons, he would pay the boys who played in the street to do it for him. He declared that his greatest joy in life is caring for sick and hungry homeless pigeons, and if he saw that he could not cure a pigeon by himself, he would take him to the vet. When that old man died alone in a hotel room with the windows wide open and birdseed on the windowsill, the mayor of New York announced the sad news on the radio: “He was a feather on the cap of the entire human race.” (A Life Electric by Azadeh Westergaard).

Nikola Tesla had a favorite dove

There is an interesting fact about Tesla’s love for a dove. Tesla fed several pigeons, among which his favorite was a white dove with light brown pigment on the tips of its wings. According to John O’Neill, the author of a biography of Tesla, the inventor loved that dove more than anyone. Tesla about the dove: “That dove was the joy of my life. If she needed me, nothing else mattered. While I had her, I also had my life goal. And then, one night while I was lying in bed in the dark, solving some problems, as usual, she flew in through the open window and stood on my desk. I knew she needed me. I looked at her and I knew I wanted to say she was going to die. And then, when I realized it, I saw a light in her eyes, a strong beam of light”.

Nikola Tesla in the children’s book

Nikola Tesla is one of the characters in the picture book “The Turtle Who Fights For Animal Rights”, together with other inventors, writers, and geniuses who did not eat meat and who advocated animal rights. In a literary way, through a touching and intriguing story, all the facts about the treatment of animals and healthy nutrition are presented. The peculiarity of this story is that its true ending depends on the individual choices of the reader.